Prospective investigation on the transfer of Ara h 2, the most potent peanut allergen, in human breast milk

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Abstract

Background:

Peanut allergy is one of the most severe food allergies. Whether breastfeeding induces tolerance to peanuts or on the contrary, pre-disposes at risk-babies to occult allergic sensitization to peanuts is still a matter of discussion. We sought to investigate the transfer of the most potent peanut allergen Ara h 2 into human breast milk in a German breast milk study and to shed light on the time kinetics of Ara h 2 appearance.

Methods:

We recruited 32 lactating, non-peanut-allergic women and collected breast milk samples at different time points after consumption of 100 g dry roasted peanuts. Breast milk samples were investigated for Ara h 2 with different immunological methods: by 2D immunoblotting with a patient's serum, by affinity enrichment using a monoclonal antibody against Ara h 2 followed by LC-MS/MS-based detection and by a competitive inhibition ELISA for the detection of Ara h 2 and its digestion-resistant peptides (DRP-Ara h 2).

Results:

In a qualitative analysis, Ara h 2 could be identified in a breast milk sample by 2D immunoblot by means of a patient's serum and furthermore by immunoaffinity enrichment followed by LC-MS/MS analysis. In a semi-quantitative analysis, Ara h 2 and its digestion-resistant peptides were detected in the breast milk of 9 of 32 subjects. Evidence suggests that Ara h 2 is excreted individually either rapidly (after 1, 2, 3 or 4 h) or delayed (after 8 or 12 h) and in different concentrations.

Conclusions:

Time and concentration of secreted Ara h 2 in breast milk appears to be individually regulated. The identification of Ara h 2 in breast milk is the prerequisite for the investigation of its sensitizing or tolerogenic properties.

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